A Worcester, Mass. resident has notified the Better Business Bureau of Central New England about an unsolicited phone call involving a caller claiming to be from the FBI.
The victim had a payday loan obtained through US Fast Cash Mobile Loans. All of the information she supplied to the Miami, Okla.-based business was handled online. The business has an F rating from the BBB of Eastern Oklahoma.
The scammer claiming to be an FBI officer stated that they had been monitoring the consumer's online activity and were looking to collect on an outstanding payday loan balance. To clear the debt, the consumer was told to wire transfer money to the officer.
The victim initially attempted to comply with the caller and offered to pay by credit or debit card. The alleged officer stated that was not an acceptable form of payment and the money must be wired. The consumer told the BBB that she had an outstanding payday loan, but a payment plan was negotiated with the lender and the alleged FBI agent demanded a balance more than double what was actually owed.
The caller threatened legal action and jail time if the victim did not meet the demands. The caller ID appeared to be spoofed and stated "Federal Investigations" calling from a 786 number, a Florida area code. The scammer had information including the victims name, address, phone number and Social Security number. After the first conversation, when the consumer ultimately refused to pay or give any more personal information, the call ended and the scammers have not attempted to call again. The matter was reported to local authorities by the victim.
The BBB warns consumers that there are many types of this kind of scam. Scammers may impersonate officials from other government offices, lawyers or other "legitimate sounding" collection agencies. They often threaten legal action or jail time if the victim does not comply with their demands, and many consumers, out of fear, obey with the scammer's request.